Thursday, April 02, 2009

DOJ letter to Congress seems to contradict DOJ briefs in SONY v. Cloud & SONY v. Tenenbaum

On September 23, 2008, the US Department of Justice wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying that "statutory damages ... are similar to punitive damages".

In March, 2009, the US Department of Justice filed at least 2 briefs of which we are aware, one in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud, the other in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, arguing that statutory damages are not like punitive damages.

September 23, 2008, letter of US Dept of Justice to Senate Judiciary Committee

"Obama DOJ files similar brief defending RIAA statutory damages theory, this time in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud"

"Obama's Justice Department intervenes on side of RIAA in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum"

Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs intellectual property portable music player


Alter_Fritz said...

Hm, did RIAA-"Lawyers" actually wrote the briefs of DOJ then and just had send the text to the DOJ lawyers to simply print and sign them (as DOJ's ghostwriters if you will) when it seems that those 2 opinions of DOJ are so diametrically different depending if it is congress or "only" a judge they write to?

Anonymous said...

The context of the letter is a request by the DOJ to not have the responsibility for pursuing IP violations, so I take it that it was just a sloppy side note.

That said, it's not just contradictory with other briefs, its a bats**t crazy position to take. Thank you for highlighting this, and hopefully they never say something that stupid again.

raybeckerman said...

They already have said some pretty frivolous stuff, when they argued that the RIAA's theory -- which would give the plaintiffs statutory damages of $750 to $150,000 for a single download costing the record company a lost profit of 35 cents -- passes constitutional muster. They didn't have to make a frivolous and unsupportable statement like that, and they shouldn't have.